Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Want to air your opinions on the latest issue of Retro Gamer? Step inside...

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, lcarlson, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed

Post Reply
abraxxious
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:02 am

Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by abraxxious » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:19 am

Hey guys,

I believe I have EVERY Retro Gamer mag since issue 1 (had to fill ina few gaps but got there in the end). As a long time collector and retro gaming consoles and computers I have found Retro gamer to be the most enjoyable read in many years, however, I have a couple of issues I would like to bring to light.

Firstly, can we please cut back on the amount of "repeats". If it is time to do another article on a compuer or game console that has already been covered in the past please write a new article, perhaps covering different aspects (such as top 10 homebrew, top 10 demos, overlooked classics etc). As good as the articles may be, you can only read the same article so many times.

Secondly, most of us hardcore retro gamers like indepth info - we already know the basics or we wouldnt be retro gamers. Why not increase the size of the hardware spotlight articles to 10-15 pages and include more technical information on the hardware - cpu, sound and graphics processors, comparisons to other systems of the time, interesting peripherals, homebrew/modern clones/remakes etc etc?

For instance, I have never seen an article on things like the IDE64, MMC64, Retro Replay, SD2IEC, 64HD, Reus, Codemasters CDrom interface, 4 player adapter (and supported games), DualSid/StereoSid, SuperCPU, RamLink, Jiffy Dos, Dolphin Dos, 1541 Ultimate, 1541 III etc.... and this is just for one System!

Surely other readers would like to read about these interesting items (which are being used more and more in the retro scene) rather reading the same top 10 of C64 games that inevitably has Paradroid as Number 1...

Just a thought, what does everyone else think?

psj3809
Posts: 19011
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:28 am

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by psj3809 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:10 am

Get your point about some of the articles, but i'm personally interested in gaming, got no interest in techy hardware specs or stuff about 'IDE64, MMC64, Retro Replay, SD2IEC, 64HD, Reus, Codemasters CDrom interface, 4 player adapter (and supported games), DualSid/StereoSid, SuperCPU, RamLink, Jiffy Dos, Dolphin Dos, 1541 Ultimate, 1541 III etc.'

I always think the titles called retro gamer, want stuff about retro games, not techy hardware. Sure some people will want techy stuff though but if there was a hardware spotlight of 10-15 pages about '1541 Ultimate' i would avoid that completely.

mikeb
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:57 am

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by mikeb » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:14 am

I'm not really sure this is a direction that RG wants to go in - even most of the community created 'fanzines' are nowhere near this techy.

User avatar
TMR
Posts: 5756
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:56 am
Location: Leeds, U.K.
Contact:

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by TMR » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:06 am

abraxxious wrote:Secondly, most of us hardcore retro gamers like indepth info - we already know the basics or we wouldnt be retro gamers. Why not increase the size of the hardware spotlight articles to 10-15 pages and include more technical information on the hardware - cpu, sound and graphics processors, comparisons to other systems of the time, interesting peripherals, homebrew/modern clones/remakes etc etc?
Out of context and without knowledge to understand them, a list of system specifications don't mean much; saying that the Amstrad CPC has a 4MHz Zilog Z80A doesn't really tell the average reader anything useful about the machine as a whole or where it's strengths and weaknesses lie.
abraxxious wrote:For instance, I have never seen an article on things like the IDE64, MMC64, Retro Replay, SD2IEC, 64HD, Reus, Codemasters CDrom interface, 4 player adapter (and supported games), DualSid/StereoSid, SuperCPU, RamLink, Jiffy Dos, Dolphin Dos, 1541 Ultimate, 1541 III etc.... and this is just for one System!
And you left a few items like the Rainbow Arts CD interface or EasyFlash out as well... but really, the bulk of these expansions merely facilitate games playing rather than actually shape it directly and, whilst there are exceptions, they're very few and far between like Metal Dust or Prince of Persia. Look at how few games there are that have been specifically designed to use an REU (rather than just patched during a jewel crack) for example, using the hardware really isn't rocket science and a novice coder could do it with a good tutorial, but i can't think of a game requiring REU (well, nothing released at least... =-) and there's only a handful of demos out there.
abraxxious wrote:Surely other readers would like to read about these interesting items (which are being used more and more in the retro scene) rather reading the same top 10 of C64 games that inevitably has Paradroid as Number 1...
i suspect you'd be surprised; even a technical discussion on this forum will see people interrupting to say how uninterested they are and, as mikeb says, the community-created publications usually shy away from doing technical pieces so it's left to a few format-specific exceptions like the newly-minted diskmag Above & Beyond.

abraxxious
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:02 am

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by abraxxious » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:00 am

Wow! I must say I am VERY surprised. The vast majortiy of retro fanatics I know revel in the hardware of retro systems as much as the games (there is almost always interesting stories behind the creation of iconic systems - these stories are usually far more interesting than "Ocean farmed out the Spectrum port to....") and whilst we all give a collective yawn over yet another look at why Great Gianna Systems was taken off the shelves, we do look forward to the latest homebrew game, hardware thumping demo or gizmo to make retro gaming more accessable.

I guess some of us are heading in a different direction to Retro Gamer.

User avatar
TMR
Posts: 5756
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:56 am
Location: Leeds, U.K.
Contact:

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by TMR » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:49 am

abraxxious wrote:I guess some of us are heading in a different direction to Retro Gamer.
Yes, but that's to be expected; Retro Gamer's market is a mixture of people and, along with a large range of platforms, genres and eras to cover, there's a large diversity in the readership; some will be more "hardcore" (in quotes because it's a relative term and a few people feel it's impossible to be truly hardcore unless you're writing the latest homebrew game or building the latest gizmo) but most will be the people who grew up with the machines and fondly remember those days, in some cases trading purely off those memories rather than even firing up an emulator.

User avatar
DreamcastRIP
Posts: 9376
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:40 am
Location: England

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by DreamcastRIP » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:05 am

I don't think folk should be so quick to dismiss the generality of the OP's thoughts out of hand.

For example, I think an article covering how the Action Replay and its clones (assuming Action Replay was the first, Idk) such as Romantic Robot would be an interesting read. Hearing who came up with the idea, how they got it into production, the challenges in marketing it in an above board fashion, how they sought to stay ahead with the subsequent revisions, how the industry reacted, etc... would be of interest to some of RG's readership.

Maybe an article of the dawning of the CD-ROM era discussing such things as the initial pros and cons (all those FWV games!) and mentioning early 'Heath Robinson' devices such as the aforementioned kit sold by Codemasters would be of interest to some readers too.

It doesn't necessarily have to be 'serious' and risk being boring to the masses either. There could be a feature on wacky/unusual game controllers that might be fun, e.g. maracas for Samba de Amigo, the Trance Vibrator for Rez (PS2), etc...

The retro gaming scene is a rich and diverse environment encompassing far more than just the games themselves. On that note, RG has recently shown some willing to cover the wider scene by way of such features as the recent article on the Amiga demo scene and, dare I say it, the article on board games too. Then there's been the coverage of dedicated sytems such as the articles on Simon and the Grandstand tabletops. I'd personally love to see the magazine continue to broaden its horizons beyond the obvious and predictable.

I guess it's a question of 'how' and to what extent though. I personally think "10-15 pages" per issue would be overdoing it somewhat but that's only my opinion.

I think the OP is onto something and it'd be nice to think a sensible debate could be had on the matter without the usual suspects soon chiming in with their infantile comments.
Own: Jaguar JaguarCD Lynx 7800 Dreamcast Saturn MegaDrive MegaCD 32X Nomad GameGear PS3 PS PSP WiiU Wii GameCube N64 DS GBm GBA GBC GBP GB Virtual Boy Xbox Vectrex PCE Duo-R 3DO CDi CD32 GX4000 WonderSwan NGPC Gizmondo ColecoVision iPhone PC Mac

User avatar
gman72
Posts: 8018
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:41 pm
Location: UK. Norfolk

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by gman72 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:26 am

For me it's an area I have little interest in. Games yes but the actual tech behind them bores me senseless, personally I would skip an article of that nature, but that said I could see how some types may find it interesting but I feel it may be a turn off for non techy readers like myself who simply would not know what on earth they were looking at.
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” —Allen Ginsberg, WD

User avatar
Antiriad2097
Posts: 26963
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:48 pm
Location: http://s11.zetaboards.com/RetroLeague/
Contact:

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:29 am

abraxxious wrote:Firstly, can we please cut back on the amount of "repeats". If it is time to do another article on a compuer or game console that has already been covered in the past please write a new article, perhaps covering different aspects (such as top 10 homebrew, top 10 demos, overlooked classics etc). As good as the articles may be, you can only read the same article so many times.
Has RG ever done this? I know GamesTM has on occasion reprinted RG content, but I don't think there's an instance where RG has rerun the same article, they've always (iirc) commissioned a new one with a twist on what's gone before.

I do find the techy stuff interesting, though it will often go so deep its a bit over my head. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading it though since I invariably learn a little more about how these things work, especially when it comes to discussions on coding.

Does it fit with the mag? I don't really know.

A roundup of the various devices and their pros and cons wouldn't go amiss as a one off, I'll go that far.

As for it putting readers off, its no worse than my reaction to JRPG articles.
The Retro League - Where skill isn't an obstacle
Retrocanteen, home of the unfairly banned
Tom_Baker wrote:I just finished watching a film about Stockholm syndrome. It started out terrible but by the end I really liked it.

mikeb
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:57 am

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by mikeb » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:18 am

Just to note - I'm not disagreeing with the OP's sentiments in principle, I think it's important to include relevant technical info if the interviewer sees fit in Making Of's for example (ie in Uridium where Steve/Andrew discuss dividing game routines into clock cycles to allow for the fast scrolling, or the tailored graphics chip Eugene mentions in the Robotron piece as making all the particle explosions possible) but there's probably a fine line to juggle before this kind of information becomes a turn-off to less technically minded readers. I think most of the writers do tend to assume that a percentage of more mature readers would be interested in this stuff however, and I think on balance make the judgement well. 10-15 pages on niche technical topics though isn't really the way to go about things IMHO.

There are certainly subjects that I think are worthy of coverage with a more technical spin though in 4-6 page articles perhaps, off the top of my head, something on Action Replay-type products, the development of speech hardware add-ons, or fast-loaders might be interesting. Though I suspect one of the latter's stumbling block might be trying to interview the chap behind NovaLoad...

AmigaJay
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:58 pm

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by AmigaJay » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:57 am

Can't see it happening, Darren has already stated they are aiming for a more mainstream casual retro gamer market so to speak, plus I think 15 pages is a little ott on a particular article...imagine the feedback :lol: :wink:

User avatar
HalcyonDaze00
Posts: 4621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:20 pm

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by HalcyonDaze00 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:46 pm

For instance, I have never seen an article on things like the IDE64, MMC64, Retro Replay, SD2IEC, 64HD, Reus, Codemasters CDrom interface, 4 player adapter (and supported games), DualSid/StereoSid, SuperCPU, RamLink, Jiffy Dos, Dolphin Dos, 1541 Ultimate, 1541 III etc.... and this is just for one System!
for good reason, the mag will die on it's ar5e if it starts to feature rubbish like that, 15 pages??!!! deary me.......

User avatar
jdanddiet
Posts: 9041
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:03 am
Location: Essex
Contact:

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by jdanddiet » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:56 pm

DreamcastRIP wrote:Romantic Robot would be an interesting read.
Interesting you should mention that DCrip. I've never considered a "hardware" feature before, but would love to do the story on Romantic Robot. I got in touch with Alexander Goldscheider a while back (he still runs RR but as record label these days) but despite a small amount of correspondence it fizzled out. Maybe I'll contact him again shortly.

Incidentally I still have a rather spiffing making-of on file for the only game they did - Wriggler (hint hint Darran :wink: )
DreamcastRIP wrote:Maybe an article of the dawning of the CD-ROM era discussing such things as the initial pros and cons (all those FWV games!) and mentioning early 'Heath Robinson' devices such as the aforementioned kit sold by Codemasters would be of interest to some readers too.
I'd be very interested to read about that.

There is definitely room for such features in RG imo, but they must have a considerable gaming slant for me personally to be interested. I wouldn't consider the above too obscure either. BUT 15 pages? No no no no!
For retro news, full articles, retrospectives and a gallery of my work check out http://wizwords.net/
Wizwords on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Wizwords
and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wizwords

User avatar
DreamcastRIP
Posts: 9376
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:40 am
Location: England

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by DreamcastRIP » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:15 pm

Thanks for sharing that, jdanddiet. Your own proposed article about Wriggler and Romantic Robot sounds interesting already. (another nudge for Darran!)

I certainly think abraxxious is onto something really worthwhile with this thread. Not all of his suggestions may be to everyones liking (as I'm sure mine won't be either) but he's got the ball rolling which is the main thing. I tried taking the holistic view regarding the nature of what he's suggesting rather than posting wholly unconstructive jibes. Props to abraxxious for being brave enough to communicate something a little different in the Feedback section. To be frank, whatever anyone suggests on here will always attract criticism. Nothing wrong with that per se as long as it's constructive criticism. :D
Own: Jaguar JaguarCD Lynx 7800 Dreamcast Saturn MegaDrive MegaCD 32X Nomad GameGear PS3 PS PSP WiiU Wii GameCube N64 DS GBm GBA GBC GBP GB Virtual Boy Xbox Vectrex PCE Duo-R 3DO CDi CD32 GX4000 WonderSwan NGPC Gizmondo ColecoVision iPhone PC Mac

User avatar
The Beans
Posts: 3635
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:18 pm

Re: Less "repeats", more indepth information.

Post by The Beans » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:18 pm

abraxxious wrote: Secondly, most of us hardcore retro gamers like indepth info - we already know the basics or we wouldnt be retro gamers. Why not increase the size of the hardware spotlight articles to 10-15 pages and include more technical information on the hardware - cpu, sound and graphics processors, comparisons to other systems of the time, interesting peripherals, homebrew/modern clones/remakes etc etc?
I'm not going to beat about the bush, that sounds sh1t to me and would stop me buying the magazine.
If it's slower than me, dumber than me and it tastes good ... tough titty.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests